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Jess McNamara

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Understanding Special Consideration

We’re back! Second semester and already we have assessments done or due.

The biggest problem students face is failure of an assessment task, or a low mark, that results in the failure of a subject. When we talk about what happened, students have often experienced difficulty in completing a task or putting as much effort into it as they’d like.
It is for situations like this that we can apply for an extension or special consideration.

So what’s the difference?
An extension is asking for more time to complete the task in advance of the due date.

Special consideration is saying that something unexpected has happened near the due date, and now you need more time, or for a rescheduling of an exam.
It is easier to be granted an extension than it is to be granted special consideration. So, if you have any doubts about getting something done or done to your standard, then apply for an extension as soon as possible. You can email your Subject Coordinator if your assessment task is worth less than 15% or use the online form if it is worth more.

Special consideration has changed since COVID-19 restrictions came into place. The timeframe for applying is now five days (it used to be three) either side of the due date or scheduled exam date. Eligibility for special consideration and the evidence required has also changed. Follow this link, or click on the window for more detail.

Remember that a medical certificate or a statutory declaration are NOT sufficient. You will need to send your GP a copy of the Medical Impact Statement (available from the above link), or have other ‘verifiable’ evidence. This might include screenshots of info or emails from your internet provider about outages.
If you’re not sure whether you should apply, what suits your circumstances better, or how to give yourself the best opportunity to be granted an extension or special consideration, please send me an email. I will be able to help.

It’s easier to get it right the first time when you apply, but if you need to, you also have the option of Appealing your special consideration application decision, or, going straight to the University Ombudsman. If your situation is genuine, the University wants to help – but you will need the evidence, and you need procedures to be followed correctly.

Sometimes students think that a medical condition or health problem will make them eligible for special consideration. This is not true if you know already it will impact you. What you need to do, is meet with and Equity & Diversity Advisor, discuss your situation, the impact on your study and what you need. If appropriate, they will be able to provide you with a Learning Access Plan (LAP). This will recommend “reasonable adjustments” that your subject coordinators and tutors may take to give you the best opportunities to learn and succeed. For example, you may have caring responsibilities for a family member with disability, and your LAP could request placement at a location within an acceptable distance to your residence.

It is better to have a LAP and not need it, rather than need a LAP, and not have one. If you think a LAP could help you, or you’d like to discuss personal circumstances impacting your study and potential support for this, register with Equity & Diversity at Students using this service include carers, people with a health condition, people with mental ill health, and people with a disability.

Questions? Concerns? Please call or email Michelle, your student advocate

0413 430 822